Bluesound has refreshed its excellent Node 2i music streamer and Powernode 2i streaming amplifier. The next generation of the What Hi-Fi? Award-winning devices or now boast new DAC designs, more powerful processors, and touch panel controls with presets. They simply carry the original Node and Powernode monikers.
For the uninitiated, the Node is a music streamer that works either as a source in a hi-fi system or with active (or powered) speakers, like the Award-winning Audiolab 6000N Play. The Powernode, meanwhile, has amplification built in and just requires a pair of speakers, like the Award-winning Marantz PM7000N.
The former has a new DAC that can decode both hi-res 24-bit/192kHz and MQA files and feeds coaxial, optical, USB Type-A and, giving it TV system appeal, HDMI eARC inputs. There's also RCA inputs and a 3.5mm headphone jack, plenty of music streaming service support courtesy of wi-fi and Apple AirPlay 2, internet radio and aptx HD Bluetooth (which is two-way, meaning it can wirelessly receive Bluetooth files for playback and send whatever it is playing to Bluetooth headphones or speakers). Naturally, the Node can also work in a multi-room environment with other BluOS kit.
As well as having a touch control panel with presets providing shortcuts to your favourite music, the Node can be voice controlled using voice assistants like Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The Powernode has a very similar skillset to the Node – all the BluOS streaming features, digital connectivity including HDMI eARC, and MQA support, for example – but with the addition of a built-in amplifier. The amp delivers 80 watts per channel, up from 60 watts on the previous model.
The Bluesound Node costs £549 ($549, about AU$1050) and the Powernode £849 ($899, about AU$1650) – slightly up from the launch prices of the previous-gen models. Both are available to pre-order now for shipping in June.
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